The Animals

It’s been a while, but we finally found time to do a family ride today. With several of our favorite local roads still closed after the heavy rains a few weeks ago, Anne suggested this variant on our standard Mission loop route, adding some loops in the hills. Despite our efforts to keep it low key, we encountered a new (to us) and exciting mechanical problem.

When we started it was the tiniest bit chilly, but we pretty quickly put away the jackets and enjoyed the moderate temperature and mostly cloudy skies.

We headed down Paseo Padre, a mostly nice road with some random sections where the bike lane disappears. For the second half of the road, we started vampire climbing, where it’s just enough of an incline to make you feel slow, without really noticing that you’re gaining altitude. As we approached Mission, it paid off with some quick downhill segments.

Along the climb of our first dalliance, there was a field with a pair of horses. We watched as one rolled around on its back, then stood up to chase off a rabbit. As we snacked at the top, a pair of turkeys crossed the road ahead of us.

We dropped back down to Mission, then turned off at Antelope. This neighborhood is how the route got its name — the roads have names like Antelope, Cougar, Doe, and Rabbit. We could see a paraglider doing the floating thing along the ridgeline.

It wasn’t until we got to Hunter that things got exciting. While climbing, my pedal suddenly jerked forward without resistance. I panicked for a moment, but somehow managed to get my foot unclipped before I fell over. Anne declared that she was going to get to the top, maybe 100 feet away. I looked down, expecting to see that the chain had fallen off. Instead, I saw it dangling from the cassette. The chain hadn’t fallen off, it had snapped.

I’ve heard of this happening, but I’ve never experienced it. Fortunately, our every-ride kit includes a couple Missing Links, so it was easy enough to fix. My bike may be telling me that I should replace the chain. Either that, or I’m just too powerful for my own good.

We continued the ride, descending back to Mission. For our final diversion, we cut over on Morrison Canyon Road. There were signs indicating that the road was closed, but they didn’t get serious about it until where we wanted to turn off anyway.

We decided to adjust the return home a bit and just take the Alameda Creek Trail. The water level is still somewhat elevated, and the flow over the dam, usually just a trickle, made for a nice waterfall. Anne noticed some people gathered under a tree on the other side of the creek. A bald eagle was chilling at the top of the tree, agitating the crows that thought it was their tree. The eagle seemed unimpressed.

It was really nice to be back on a family bike ride. Anne picked out a nice ride for us, with some exciting animal roads and actual animal sightings. And what ride would be complete without a mechanical.